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September 11, 2018

San Francisco Opera Ball 2018

Matthew Shilvock and Carmen Giannattasio
Photo by Drew Altizer
Komal Shah
Photo by Andrew Caulfield for Drew Altizer Photography
Chrisa Pappas
Photo by Jana Asenbrennerova for Drew Altizer Photography
Yuan Yuan Tan
Photo by Andrew Caulfield for Drew Altizer Photography
Mary Beth Shimmon
Photo by Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography
Dede Wilsey
Photo by Drew Altizer
Barbara Brown
Photo by Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography
Nancy and Paul Pelosi
Photo by Drew Altizer
Carolyn Chang
Photo by Drew Altizer
Alex Chases
Photo by Drew Altizer
Kate Shilvock
Photo by Drew Altizer
Karen Richardson
Photo by Drew Altizer
Charlotte Shultz
Photo by Drew Altizer
The fountain at the War Memorial Opera House
Photo by Andrew Caulfield for Drew Altizer Photography

The San Francisco Opera opening night gala on Friday, September 7, was a truly international event, with opera lovers flying in from around the world to attend.

The dazzling affair, set at the War Memorial Opera House, was graced with the presence of international opera star Carmen Giannattasio, who sparkled in a Bulgari parure and an ivory brocade gown. The soprano, who has sung at London’s Royal Opera House, New York’s Metropolitan Opera and Venice’s La Fenice, makes her San Francisco Opera debut with her leading role in Puccini’s “Tosca.” The San Francisco Opera’s general director, Matthew Shilvock, welcomed Giannatassio to the 96th season, escorting her into the opera house to introduce her to philanthropists Dede Wilsey and John and Cynthia Gunn, among her many fans.

Guests including Barbara Brown, Maryam Muduroglu, Carolyn Chang, and David Gockley and Linda Kemper gathered in the Grand Hall for cocktails, and then strolled to the dinner tent, where San Francisco Ballet principal dancer Yuan Yuan Tan was discussing her busy schedule, including her upcoming performance with the company at the Kennedy Center in October. “We’re presenting new works, and I’m very excited,” she said.

Komal Shah, a trustee of Tate Modern, wore a bold pink Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda gown, topped off with a flower crown of orange and pink garden roses created by Ken Fulk’s team. “Ken first created floral headpieces for Dolce & Gabbana’s Alta Moda show in Italy last year, and I loved the concept,” said Shah.

Everyone seemed to have many reasons to celebrate: Representative Nancy Pelosi and her husband, Paul, were celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary, while Wilsey had just returned from Vienna, where she visited her son Trevor and his family. (Trevor was recently appointed US Ambassador to Austria.) “They’re loving it,” said Wilsey.

In addition to “Tosca,” the San Francisco Opera season includes performances of “Roberto Devereux,” “Arabella” and the all-new “It’s a Wonderful Life” by Jake Heggie. The gala was a fundraiser for the institution’s many education programs, which aim to instill a lifelong love of music in the 75,000 children they reach.

Written by Diane Dorrans Saeks


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